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#55046 - 02/26/03 11:54 AM Re: [Paper Jam] Individual book review discussions
tortuga
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 02/26/03
Posts: 1

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Thank you ragdoll for putting into words everything I hated about Shopgirl. I have been a fan of Steve Martin for as long as I can remember. Before reading Shopgirl, in my imaginary meetings with him, I would gush about how much I loved "The Jerk" and how unappreciated "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid" is. Post-Shopgirl, I'm afraid that my first words would be, "Yo, Shopgirl sucked!"
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#55047 - 02/26/03 12:34 PM Re: [Paper Jam] Individual book review discussions
WriterGirl
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/06/00
Posts: 231
Loc: once Atlanta, GA; now Brooklyn...

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Ragdoll, that was a great review. And I'm going to be the lone voice of dissension here: I didn't hate it. I thought parts of it were pretty stupid (Lisa, for one) but I didn't hate it.

The two things I'd disagree with Ragdoll with most: one, the character of Jeremy -- I actually thought he was pretty weak at the end, and his conversion to Enlightened Male unconvincing. The other, and more substantial, disagreement I had was Ragdoll's complaint that we really don't get into Mirabelle's head -- I thought the case for her despair was pretty well laid out: her financial distress, her stunted relationship with her parents (especially her father), her perceived inability to take care of herself. In fact, I think it would have been much better as a short story: no Ray Porter, no Jeremy, just Mirabelle coming home for Christmas and realizing the connections between her father's Vietnam experiences, his affair, her mother's reaction, and her own depression.

But I think part of the reason I didn't hate the book was I wasn't thinking about Steve Martin's women issues. The idea that he's going to play Ray just depresses me; I don't want art and life to intersect that clearly. Let Ray and Mirabelle have their issues and Steve Martin have his; I liked the book better when it was just a book and not a vehicle.

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#55048 - 02/26/03 01:16 PM Re: [Paper Jam] Individual book review discussions
atholbrose
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Registered: 09/02/02
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Well, at least nobody (so far) has mentioned subjecting themselves to the audiobook version of "Shopgirl". I got interested in audiobooks when I was having a 3-hour daily commute. After some excellent experiences (everything David Sedaris ever recorded) and some very good ones ("Fever Pitch" was wonderful on CD), I checked out "Shopgirl", read by Steve Martin.

Well. A better way to put it would be: read by Steve Martin as if he was bored with the whole thing. Read by Steve Martin as if some director were standing in the other room, tapping a watch, reminding Steve of a strict time deadline that he had to hurry to meet. In one intensely annoying stretch, read by Steve Martin with a nasty cold. (There were no attempts to make the different recording sessions sound the same; you could always tell when the "next day" was.) Every once in a while, frustratingly, there was a moment when it actually sounded like Steve Martin telling a story, which is what I really wanted it to sound like, instead of Steve Martin hurriedly blowing through one.

(And after this, I popped in the beginning of a 20-CD version of "Hearts in Atlantis", a book I'd read and generally liked, read by John Hurt. John Hurt! It's gotta be better, right? Well, apparently, John Hurt doesn't know what punctuation means, and doesn't know how to differentiate between different people talking, or even people talking and his own narration. I lasted about fifteen minutes. Thus ended my flirtations with books-on-CD.)

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#55049 - 02/26/03 02:12 PM Re: [Paper Jam] Individual book review discussions
ragdoll
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 332
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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You know, I kind of agree with you, WriterGirl, about one thing: I do think that the whole novella would have worked better as a short story. The part where Mirabelle goes home to her parents' house works as one of the more successful aspects of the story.
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#55050 - 03/01/03 10:10 PM Re: [Paper Jam] Individual book review discussions
graceless
Ching Shih


Registered: 12/23/01
Posts: 574
Loc: Illinois

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Why do I want to think Steve Martin would have wanted Kate Hudson for the female lead in Shopgirl but then felt incredibly sick for thinking so? Or am I imagining some Steve Martin-Goldie Hawn friendship that never existed?
_________________________
"Sometimes I doubt your committment to Sparkle Motion!" - Donnie Darko

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#55051 - 03/03/03 04:50 PM Re: [Paper Jam] Individual book review discussions
postscript
Ching Shih


Registered: 12/30/02
Posts: 37
Loc: Queens, New York

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Thanks for the review, ragdoll. I agree with you on pretty much everything.
Mirabelle is boring but luckily there are some great novels written about the inner life of the quiet young woman who is isolated/invisible/apart - try Charlotte Bronte's Villette or almost anything by Anita Brookner...

Definitely the antidote to too much Martin, or, for that matter, Irving.

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#55052 - 04/22/03 11:41 AM Re: [Paper Jam] Individual book review discussions
deborah Administrator
Chief Bibliofreak
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/27/00
Posts: 3901
Loc: Funkytown

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New one!

Little Tenement on the Volga: A Glimpse of “Russian Chicago”

Mary Fifield returns with another review of a small press book: C.S. Walton's portrait of post-Soviet Samara, a military-industrial city rife with garbage and gangsterism, sex-role stereotypes and social problems. “'Female care allows men to make an art form of irresponsibility... Women believe their domain is in the home and that it is their natural role in society to look after drunken husbands and sons.'”

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#55053 - 04/30/03 10:45 AM Re: [Paper Jam] Individual book review discussions
deborah Administrator
Chief Bibliofreak
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/27/00
Posts: 3901
Loc: Funkytown

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And another one, coincidentally also set in Russia, but in a very different place and time:

Equal Amounts Hope and Doubt: Your Mouth is Lovely

Fran Mason returns with a review of Nancy Richler's poignant novel set in brutal Tsarist Russia, the story of Miriam Lev's memoir from a Siberian prison—written for the six-year-old daughter she may never see again.

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#55054 - 11/06/03 09:25 AM Re: [Paper Jam] Individual book review discussions
deborah Administrator
Chief Bibliofreak
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/27/00
Posts: 3901
Loc: Funkytown

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Here's one from a new contributor (though she's not new to Chicklit):

Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired: A Review

Teri McIntyre (aka hopechaser) reviews Susan L. Smith's award-winning Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired: Black Women's Health Activism in America, 1890-1950, a book that fills an enormous gap in the history of health care in America. "No matter how many books I read, it never ceases to amaze me how the one book that I would never pick up voluntarily always seems to the one I prominently display on my bookshelf."

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#55055 - 11/10/03 10:26 AM Re: [Paper Jam] Individual book review discussions
deborah Administrator
Chief Bibliofreak
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/27/00
Posts: 3901
Loc: Funkytown

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Kate Washington reviews Pamela Ribon's novel:

Genre and the Single Girl: Pamela Ribon\'s Why Girls are Weird

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